Published: Monday, 31 August 2015 Written by Walter 'Wasabi' Marthaler

to participate in the “GOLDEN OLDIES 2015” TOURNAMENT (August 2015)


The “Golden Oldies” motto: “Let the love of the game take you places!”


AUGUST 2nd: Sunday evening ahead of the tournament

The FLYING HOPPERS are in no special need to be inspired by the “Golden Oldies” motto, as they do meet-up on TOURS much more regularly than every two years and kind of “all over the world”. However, this was the first time for the Flying Hoppers to participate in a “Golden Oldies” event.


In the late afternoon/early evening – like a few others - I finally made it to Leipzig on a wonderful sunny day. The “Deutsche Bahn” did not take me at “Shinkansen-type” speed there but reliably enough.
The other seven (only!) Hoppers I was encountering at the Novotel Hotel to move along to Apero drinks and thereafter dinner were:


Sporting Chief: Stefan Leuenberger
Captain: Retus Gieriet
Team Manager: Jaap Ten Sijthoff

Goalie: Wolfi Landtwing
CFO: Andi Walti
Photographer: Reinhard Fischer

Gifts & Drinks: Patrick Huber


For some yet unexplained reason, I did get tasked on this tour not only with the job of scribe but also as a kind of “guide” – perhaps due to the fact that I had never ever before set foot on former East German soil….?!?


As some of us had not seen each other for some time, we had a lot to chat about during the by Wolfi sponsored Apero (thanks, Wolfi!) and thereafter at dinner in the Spanish “Madrid” restaurant. Retus was especially interested in discussing both Sri Lanka as well as Vietnam, where he plans (possibly in both places??) to spend some quality vacation time this coming November. How nice to hear.


Most around the table in this Spanish restaurant did agree that their preferred European food is in fact Italian, even though I did try my very best to put in some good words for French food! Regardless, this very evening we enjoyed Tapas etc., accompanied by some excellent quality Spanish wines. (


Andi and Jaap told us the story about that motorcyclist that did overtake them on the German highway on their way to Leipzig at about 250km per hour and they just wondered if and how that racer did manage the totally jammed highway soon thereafter…


An excellent “Welcome evening” was had by all to prepare ourselves for the tournament in style?!


AUGUST 3rd : Monday - first day of play

The Flying Hoppers (strengthened substantially by a few additional players from South Africa/Ireland/Germany) managed to achieve two wins, i.e.:


3 : 0 against a side from New Zealand (“Sommerville Pirates”) and

7 : 1 against a side from North America (USA/Canada)


Extremely valuable additions to our squad were for sure the two “youngsters” from South Africa: Sean Mulligan and Amien Patel. They will hopefully join us again on future Flying Hoppers Tours! Nick Weir from Ireland also made regular appearances.


After our games and cheering on the Zurich Sox mixed team, we did celebrate with a few beers whilst watching some of those “Golden Oldies” ladies dancing away to some “Golden Oldies tunes” in the specially put up tents.


In the evening both the Flying Hoppers as well as the Zurich Sox team joined up to go for dinner in the Ratskeller Leipzig – plenty of good food and beers and wines (but a bit of a slow service for the thirsty crowd we were representing…). (


The regular after-dinner drinking spot/area was to become the “Barfuss-Gaesschen”, which has a solid number of drinking places.


AUGUST 4th: Tuesday - LEIPZIG sightseeing day

Personally, I do not really/fully appreciate the “basic idea” or format (IF I did understand that correctly in the first place) of the “Golden Oldies” concept: Just older hockey players purely playing for fun only, i.e. without the referees keeping any records/scores, which goes in my opinion against the basic instinct to try to win…?


On the other hand, what I did like about this tournament’s format was the fact that between the 3 days of play (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) there were off-days enabling participants to either simply relax or to use those days for nice sightseeing activities.


Already ahead of the tournament, the Flying Hoppers had decided to use the Tuesday break for sightseeing in LEIPZIG and the Thursday one for sightseeing in BERLIN.


The ones among the Hoppers that wanted to join the Leipzig Tour assembled in the Novotel lobby and we walked over to the nearby Leipzig Tourist Office from where the already booked “Experience Leipzig Tour” did start. A really talented guide (what a stark contrast to that guide Lisa we had on the Caribbean Tour in Trinidad!) first walked around with us in the old town nearby and explained a lot of interesting historical facts. During this “walking about tour” we saw the Nikolai church (where those Monday demonstrations did begin that eventually led to the fall of the Berlin wall!) as well as:


- Passage Specks Hof
The old stock exchange
Maedler passage with Auerbachs cellar (mentioned in Goethe’s Faust)
The market at the old “Rathaus
- Thomas church with the statue of Bach


Thereafter we made a very pleasing tour by bus to view the following (just the main ones mentioned hereafter):


- Stasi Museum
Zoo and Gondwanaland
Schiller’s house
The Waldenstrasse quarter
The Red Bull arena
Trendy Plagwitz area with lofts
Media City
- Old “Messe”
And the most impressive sight: Voelkerschlachtdenkmal


Some of the gruesome details about that tremendous battle in Leipzig were mentioned by our guide. What does stick in my mind is that during one single day apparently about 100’000 persons got killed among the 500’000 warriors facing each other in this epic battle, which ended in a massive defeat for Napoleon and his allies.


Towards the evening, hockey skill reinforcement in the form of Guido showed up at the Novotel. We then did together proceed to yet another Apero occasion in a typical German beergarden. The really hot weather made this a very inviting/attractive proposition. Especially Jaap enjoyed the rapid downing of a few beers immensely…. Stefan and Shoko had discovered this beergarden earlier on, luckily. Stefan then guided us to yet another place that he had fond memories of from his earlier visit with Shoko – and this proved to become the Flying Hoppers’ most liked restaurant during this tour, namely: the “Restaurant Drogerie”. ( As the namecard of the place aptly mentions: Weinlokal & Restaurant Drogerie: “Die Kunst, Feines zu geniessen”.


A lot of happy chatting (first outside and after a few very rare raindrops started falling inside the restaurant) lifted our spirits to new highs – helped perhaps a touch by the consumption of a solid number of beers and 6 bottles of red wine – after all we were a thirsty lot of 9 persons! However, the main attraction in the “Drogerie” was the excellence of the food. This, coupled with the attention to detail and friendliness of the staff made the Drogerie the perfect eating place.


Eventually, a big sized taxi specially ordered (by the Drogerie) brought us all together back to the Novotel and some of the more hard-core drinkers went on to have a late night drink in one of the many pubs in the “Barfuss-Gaesschen”.


AUGUST 5th: Wednesday - second day of play

The weather staying very HOT and sunny throughout the whole week, we were happy indeed to welcome (additionally to Guido) both Lorenz and Willy. Lorenz arrived from Dresden and Willy from his second home in the Czech Republic.


This second day of play saw us first up facing the Irish Gamesters. In spite of Nick Weir playing this time against the Hoppers, we also did win this game comfortably with a 3 : 0 score.


Later in the day we did face an English side (Havant Cavalliers VLC) and that game we won even more solidly with 8 : 0. The absolute highlight in that game was a tremendous ball-stopping action by Retus, instantly followed-up (sort of the whole thing in ONE MOVE – ONE MOTION) by what only can be described as an original (absolutely unique and stunning) Retus’ Pirouette. Mind-boggling execution! Retus himself remarked that this was kind of a “sign from heaven”?!


And not to be forgotten: Our “Young Star” Wolfi did have some great saves in all the games – very well done! But none as classy as a Retus’ Pirouette!


Naturally, between our two games and thereafter, we did cheer on the Zurich Sox team, which was also stringing together a series of victories.


In the evening (after saying good-bye to both Patrick and Retus that flew off in the late afternoon) we went to the Italian restaurant “Giorgio’s”. It was quite acceptable but by no means an outstanding culinary experience. Thereafter – as per standard practise – we enjoyed some drinks yet again in the Barfuss-Gaesschen before retiring to the Novotel.


AUGUST 6th: Thursday - BERLIN sightseeing day

We had opted for the really bargain basement solution to get to and from Berlin, i.e. a bus ride with a return fare of a mere Euro 19.00 price-tag!


Once we arrived in Berlin, thankfully Andi took over the guiding of the group and a splendid sightseeing day in Berlin ensued in spite of the extremely hot weather on that day (around 38 degrees). The participants on this most pleasant outing were:


- Andi (guide)
Two ladies from Zurich Sox: Lene and Silvina
- Willy


Moreover for dinner in Berlin, the old (Berlin-based) Grasshopper hockey friend Torsten Keller showed up as well.


After arriving in Berlin’s bus terminal we moved by subway to the area where the KaWeDe department store is located, as some of us had to get the shopping needs out of their systems first…


Another short subway ride then brought us to the central train station. From there we did proceed on foot to view the following sights:


- Bundestag
- Reichstagsgebaeude
Brandenburger Tor
Denkmal der Juden
- Gendarmenmarkt
French Dome
Museum Island


Due to the immense heat (and resulting thirst) we did make some stops in-between the viewing of the many sights to refresh ourselves. First such stop was at the well-known “Einstein”, where Willy spotted at that very street corner a blind date with the lady holding one sunflower – but apparently with less than a promising outcome…During our drinks we were being entertained by street musicians – if we wanted to hear music or not….


Personally, I was very impressed with all the sights but did like the French Dome area a lot. The inspiring history (Huguenot refugees successfully settling in Brandenburg and Berlin in very substantial numbers) was – to me at least - an absolutely new and very fascinating historical fact that I was happy to learn about.


When we finally reached the Museum Island area, we – instead of taking a Spree river cruise or viewing any of the museums – opted for another coffee or beer or whatever break.


Eventually, we all felt that it was about time to head back towards the Gendarmen-markt or Gendarmen-platz area, where we did select for the Apero and dinner thereafter the excellent Restaurant Refugium. ( As mentioned earlier on, we were soon joined by Torsten, which a lot of the Hoppers were happy to see again and to exchange old stories from the time when Torsten lived in Switzerland. Torsten (after a few drinks!) kind of promised to perhaps join the games the next day in Leipzig (outcome I can report: negative!) and perhaps to also visit the upcoming indoors hockey tournament in Switzerland this coming autumn?


A lot of happy chatting until we suddenly did realize that we needed to hurry back to the bus terminal in order not to miss our bus-ride back to Leipzig!


A really very nice day came to an end when the bus finally arrived just across the street of the Novotel Hotel – fairly close to midnight.


AUGUST 7th: Friday - last tournament day

The longer the tournament went on, the shorter the games were seemingly getting… In the morning The Flying Hoppers had a fairly easy game against the “OC”, a team from South Africa. I stopped counting when our score-line crossed over the 10 goals mark hurdle. But also OC made one of their attacks count and scored a goal against Wolfi.


Not wanting to spend the whole day on the hockey grounds, some of us went back to the Novotel and others did pick-up their freshly serviced cars or made other errands. Willy did call it a day and started driving back to the Czech Republic early on in order to avoid having to drive during the night.


Back at the hockey grounds, we played our last game (another solid win with 4 : 0) against the Celtic Tigers.


Thereafter, Stefan was assembling all The Flying Hoppers to hand out 3 trophies to the most deserving Flying Hoppers participants on this tour, which were beyond any doubt:


a) Sean Mulligan and Amien Patel: Both these superb players proved not only to be “goal-scoring machines” but also excellent mates and we all do hope to see them soon again on future Flying Hoppers’ tours!

b) Wolfi Landtwing: Extremely solid in goal and “Youngster” and first time participant. Hopefully, Wolfi will also join us again on future Flying Hoppers tours!


After those dedications, it was high time to start drinking a few beers and to also still give away all those remaining (half- to three-quarters melted!!) chocolates, which nevertheless did find eager takers and instant eaters – especially among those Argentinian ladies!


This being our last evening together on this tour, we had decided already quite some time back to make this last night yet again a super eating experience in our favourite Leipzig “Drogerie” restaurant! This time around (being on a Friday) my “flexitarian regime” allowed me to partake in some serious beef-eating experience in the form of sharing a “Donald Russel Tomahawk Steak ca. 1000g” with Andi. Another Tomahawk was shared by Guido and Stefan…


As Guido, Wolfi and I had to catch a really early flight to Zurich the next morning, we called it – after yet another great eating occasion – a relatively early night.



I did ask for some feed-back from other participants about what they did like especially about this FLYING HOPPERS Tour to LEIPZIG.


Please find the follwing replies (received with thanks):


Von Jaap (Vielen DANK auch fuer Deine Dienste als Schiedsrichter, Jaap!!):

Hallo Walter,
Ich habe nicht geahnt, dass Deutschland neben der Eisenbahn ueber ein so gut ausgebautes Fernbusnetz verfuegt: 16 x taeglich Leipzig – Berlin!

Von YOUNGSTAR & Goalie Wolfi:

Hallo Walter,
Die gefuehrte Leipzig Tour war total interessant.Die von Andi geleitete Berlin Tour war sehr gut organisiert. Wir waren immer auf der richtigen U-Bahn und die von Andi organisierten Strassenmusiker waren auch immer puenktlich bei unseren Zwischenhalten vorstellig. Endlich konnten wir auch eine echte Currywurst probieren. Ob die von der Strasse her kommende “Frischluft” (roch doch eher nach Klo als nach Wurst) von den angrenzenden Schiffen kam, haben wir nicht weiter verfolgt.
Ich bin sehr dankbar, dass ich mit meinen 46 Jahren als Youngster mitkommen durfte.
Danke an alle.

Von Guido

Lieber Walter,
Meine Haupteindruecke von den Golden Oldies:
Die Abendessen in der Drogerie: Genuegend Weinflaschen vom gewuenschten Wein (nicht ganz so einfach), die Tomahawk Steaks, etc.
Das Treffen mit Torsten in Berlin, mit einem kurzen Update ueber die deutsche Hockeyszene (und damit verbunden dem finanziellen Rahmen in der Bundesliga)
Die Retus-Pirouette
Die Tango Girls und ihre Vorliebe fuer Schokolade
Liebe Gruesse ueber dem Atlantik,

Von Sir Stefan

Walter Kun,
Am allermeisten hat es mir aber gefallen mit Euch zusammen eine schoene Woche in Leipzig zu verbringen. Ich hoffe, dass es Dir auch so ergangen ist.
Liebe Gruesse




I would like to sincerely express THANKS and in particular to the following two:


Andi Walti for guiding us so expertly around BERLIN and making this sightseeing trip an absolutely fantastic day that will be remembered by all.


And as so often/always: Special thanks to Stefan for organizing a THIRD Flying Hoppers Tour this year already.


And TO ALL: For me it is ALWAYS an immense pleasure to meet-up with all of you and having an absolutely great time together.


Your scribe